As I reflect on my first week in R.Evolución Latina’s Beyond The Workshop Series, I don’t know where to begin. My mind is filled with inspiration, exhaustion, emotion, passion, ten different body percussion rhythms, and lyrics from beautiful music, all of which have been absorbed over the last 5 days. It feels both like I’ve been in this program for a month, and then also for only 30 minutes.
The time in the room feels infinite and instant simultaneously. At the end of each day I am exhausted in the best kind of way, but I am shocked that we are already at our halfway mark. I have so many takeaways from this last week, I’m hoping my brain and my heart can hold on to them all.
Firstly, what an absolute joy it’s been to be in a room of Latinos every day. I can’t describe the feelings of comfort it gives me to walk into the space each morning greeting others and being greeted by a chorus of “¡buenos dias!” with a kiss on the cheek. The sense of community I feel in hearing people’s individual culture come through in their accent when speaking to each other in English, or when using colloquial Spanish words that come from their homelands. What a beautiful reminder that who we are, where we come from, is always inside of us one way or another, and how beautiful we are as a Latine community in our similarities as well as in our differences. As someone who has grown up not feeling “Latino enough” in many ways, I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to be here and have my latinidad be accepted just the way it is.
With that being said, this first week of this program has filled me with so much inspiration. Luis Salgado enters into the space everyday with a heart that feels ready to bleed art and life and passion onto anyone who wants to receive it. That level of openness and dedication to art is infectious and motivating. Valeria Cossu teaches us body percussion with such care and empathy as we collectively learn this new and difficult skill and she reminds us of the beauty and privilege of simply being a human making art. Carlos Bauzys approaches everyday with kindness and a vulnerability as we use the material he and Kim Bixler have created to commemorate and continue the legacy of Carlos’ mentor and friend Fernando Barba, who passed away 3 years ago.
Through Carlos, Barba’s spirit is felt in the space everyday and has led to many deep and impactful conversations about our legacies, our stories as Latine artists, and the connection we feel to the ancestors that came before us and how important that connection is to our art. Not only have I been inspired by the whole R.Evolución Latina team, but I’ve also been greatly inspired by my peers. This program has shown me that we have so much to learn from each other and how much we need each other. In an industry as cut throat as theatre, most of us know all too well the feeling of being one of only a few people of color in the audition room. We know how cold and competitive those rooms can feel. We know how difficult it is not to question ourselves and question if we really deserve to be in those spaces, filled with easy to pronounce English names and white faces.
My audition for this workshop series with R.Evolución Latina was the best audition experience I have ever had. I felt an abundance of support from people I had just met. People I was, in theory, competing with. However, throughout the audition process and during the first week of this workshop I have never been made to feel like I am competing with those around me. I have felt so much love and support and given that love and support in return. It has been a learning environment completely absent of judgment and filled with awareness that we as a community need each other, because a win for one of us in this industry, is a step in the right direction for us all. I’ve made a lot of personal discoveries as an artist this week through the mantra of R.Evolución Latina, “dare to go beyond.” I’ve explored what that means to me and been challenged to put it into practice. To go beyond my self limiting beliefs, to go beyond my frustrations, to go beyond what I think I’m capable of, and to go beyond my comfort zone.
It has been an insightful, inspirational, and profound week and I look forward to continuing to dare myself to go beyond in this next and final week of the workshop series, and in the years of my career and life to come.
By: Ximena Alvear